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Category: History

Declaration of Independence

Five Myths About American Independence Day

This week, on the fourth of the month, we celebrate the United States’ Independence from Great Britain. But, as with much of history, there is a difference between truth and tradition. Here are a few. The Declaration of Independence Was Signed on July 4, 1776 No lesser personages than Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas…
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Juneteenth Memorial Monument at George Washington Carver Museum in Austin, Texas.

Juneteenth 2019

Juneteenth is the oldest memorial observed across the country to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. The comes from the combination of June Nineteenth, when Major Granger arrived at Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War was over, and the quarter-million slaves in Texas were finally freed. The celebration began in…
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Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in France.

Time Will Not Dim the Glory Of their Deeds

Once again Memorial Day is upon us. It is one of three days each year in the United States that we honor military service: Armed Forces Day Celebrated last Saturday, this day is marked annually on the third Saturday of May. This is the day that we celebrate and express gratitude to those currently serving…
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Nineteenth-century etching of the Salem Witch Trials.

Myths in History: What is “Common Knowledge?”

According to the Board for Certification of Genealogists, the standards for documenting call for genealogists to “identify the sources of all substantive information and images they gather, use, or plan to gather or use, except sources of ‘common knowledge’ beyond disputes, such as the years of major historical events.” [1] The problem is, what about…
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Boston Globe front page, January 16, 1919, describing the molasses tank explosion.

Centennial of a Disaster: The Great Molasses Flood

Just past noon, one hundred years ago today, a storage tank owned by the United States Industrial Alcohol Company. The 2.3 million gallons (8,706 tons) of molasses contained within it immediately started sweeping out like a tidal wave, destroying everything in its path. Horses, wagons, automobiles, buildings, and even the elevated railway line were destroyed.…
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Nine eleven memorial.

Our Living Memorial to 9/11

Genealogists spend a tremendous amount of time in the past, seeking out our family members. We work hard to not only identify them, but to go past the bare bones of “born, married, died” to get a glimpse into who they were as individuals. How did they fit into their communities, both locally and on…
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Timeless television show cast.

NBC’s Timeless Ignores History

I understand that television requires a certain amount of suspension of disbelief when it comes to facts and the real world. But when a show revolves around history, it should take extra precautions to be accurate with the historical facts, even if the drama around them might be a bit loose. While I have enjoyed…
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Example of potential layout of the property in a Quebecois seigneury.

Land Ownership in Quebec

Our French-Canadian ancestors had a far different system of land ownership than we, their Franco-American descendants, are used to. The seigneurial system, born out of feudal France, requires we think of researching their property records in different ways. In the earliest days of the settlement, the crown granted large swaths of land to the Company…
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Quebec card money dated 1729.

The Money of New France

Part of researching our ancestors’ lives is looking at their economic situation. How much real estate did they own? What did it cost? What personal property did they have and what was its value? Part of determining this information is having an understanding of the currency of the period and what the value of that…
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